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Is there a cure for gullibility?

June 23, 2012

By Emily Jones
Deluded Diva

It’s entirely possible that I’m the most gullible consumer lurking around the internet. I subscribe to several newsletters which are always sending me “hot tips” on everything from homemade household cleaners to weird substitutes for cosmetic treatments.

Sucker that I am, I try them all, expecting a miracle which will change my life and revolutionize the planet. Nine times out of 10 I’m disappointed. Occasionally, something actually works — which keeps me trying each new remedy that comes down the pike.

I’ve boiled my silverware with aluminum foil and baking soda. I’ve cleaned my brass with ketchup (really disgusting) and I’ve smeared coffee grounds on my face to cure wrinkles. I’ve dropped aspirin in my fresh flowers, but I don’t know why. 

A couple of months ago I read that a good substitute for expensive upholstery cleaner is vodka — the kind so cheap it could qualify as battery acid. Supposedly you can also kill household odor by spraying vodka around the house. Just don’t overdo it or your teacup poodle may develop an afternoon drinking habit and your neighbors will look at you funny. I’ve also killed mold and ants with the cheap vodka which makes me wonder what the libation does to one’s intestinal track.

Just today I got an update from the website that recommended vodka as an upholstery cleaner. The amended note warned that over time the alcohol will remove the color from fabrics and the sugars (yes, vodka is loaded with sugar) will caramelize and turn brown. I’m sitting here, waiting for my newly cleaned white sofa to turn a dingy shade of brown, and I’ve noticed I dream of sugarplums durving my Sunday afternoon nap.

I’ve slugged back apple cider vinegar to deal with joint pain and weight loss (didn’t work for either). I use coffee filters to clean mirrors and windows (that actually works pretty well). I’ve poured Coke in the toilet and guzzled Tidy Bowl (Just kidding. Wanted to make sure you haven’t dosed off.) I’ve tried to unclog a sink with Efferdent which is a denture treatment. It didn’t unclog the sink but it did shine up the porcelain.

I was told olive oil is a great additive to your bath water in place of expensive bath oils. Unfortunately, you end up smelling like Aristotle Onassis and you slip off the bed at night.

They don’t tell you that it also leaves a sticky residue that turns your bathtub pumpkin orange. Low and behold, along comes the welcome news that oven cleaner will dissolve the olive oil and leave the tub gleaming. It works! But I wonder what the active ingredient in oven cleaner is doing to what’s left of my skin?

In case you’re raising chickens, did you know you can place golf balls in the coop and the hens will lay more eggs? I know, I know. Useless information fascinates gullible people.

My latest experiment is with coconut oil which claims to sharpen the aging mind and polish your shoes to a high shine. I don’t know if it works on the mind, but I can see my reflection in my shoes. I just don’t recognize that person looking up at me.

It dawned on me that maybe we should use products for their intended uses. Golf balls for playing golf. Toothpaste for cleaning teeth. Beverages for quenching thirst. Aspirin for headaches. I keep hoping something delicious like peanut butter may turn out to be a cure for cancer, heart disease and shingles. You never know.

Emily Jones is a retire journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at

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